Sunday’s betting tips: Broncos slumping, not scoring
NFL: The Steelers are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 January games and the under is 6-0 in their last six overall.
NFL: The Giants are 4-1 ATS in their last five overall and 5-1 ATS in their last six playoff games.
NCAAF: Arkansas State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven overall.
NHL: The Senators are 4-0 in their last four overall and 6-1 in their last seven home games.
NBA: The Cavs are 5-1 ATS in their last six overall and 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games.
NBA: The under is 7-0 in the Magic's last seven road games.
NCAAB: Indiana is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 overall.
NCAAB: Michigan is 14-2 ATS in its last 16 against the Big Ten.
NFL: The Broncos are 0-4 ATS in their last four overall.
NFL: The Falcons are 0-4 ATS in their last four against teams with winning records.
NCAAF: Northern Illinois is 1-8 ATS in its last nine neutral-site games.
NHL: The Ducks are 6-24 in their last 30 overall.
NBA: The Spurs are 0-7 ATS in their last seven road games.
NBA: The Grizzlies are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games.
NCAAB: Southern California is 1-8 ATS in its last nine home games.
NCAAB: Villanova is 3-13 ATS in its last 16 home games.
12 – Consecutive games in which the Denver Broncos have run for at least 120 yards. The Broncos, who finished first in the league in rushing offense, will likely have to continue the streak to have any chance against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers. Something will have to give, though, because Pittsburgh is No. 1 in the NFL in total defense (271.8 yards per game). Denver, meanwhile, is the only one of the 12 playoff teams averaging fewer than 20 points per game.
Injuries that shouldn’t be overlooked
The Washington Wizards are still looking for their first win of the season heading into Sunday's home game against Minnesota. They may have a good chance of finally getting in the 'W' column, and not just because the Timberwolves are 2-5. The T-Wolves, already without Martell Webster and Brad Miller (out until mid-January), are even more banged up now. Jose Barea is questionable for Minnesota due to a hamstring injury. Michael Beasley, who is listed as doubtful for Sunday's contest, left Friday's game against Cleveland with a right ankle injury.
Biggest games on the slate
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants (-3, 47.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos (9, 33.5)
“I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned in my two appearances in the playoffs is to not let all the outside things that come along with it affect your preparation and affect your approach to playing on Sunday. I think I’m a lot better served. I’m a lot more mature than I was a couple years ago and even last year. I think that’s going to help out.” – Atlanta Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan, somewhat responding to the controversy surrounding New York Giants' defensive end Justin Tuck's comments about Atlanta's offensive line playing like "dirtbags."
Tips and notes
The Sacramento Kings will be playing their second game under recently-promoted head coach Keith Smart when they host Orlando on Sunday. Paul Westphal was fired earlier this week after Sacramento started the season 2-5 and there was visible frustration with his offensive philosophy. Smart's debut as coach went incredibly well on Thursday, as the host Kings outscored Milwaukee 35-18 in the fourth quarter to storm back for a 103-100 victory. "Right now the team is dealing with an identity crisis," Smart cautioned. "Each guy is trying to push forward his identity. We've got to get each guy to understand, your identity will grow faster by trying to grow this team."
The Anaheim Ducks started the season 4-1, winning four in a row after losing their opener. Amazingly, they have not won back-to-back games since that initial four-game surge, a slump dating all the way back to October 17. Anaheim will be looking to put together a rare two-game streak on Sunday vs. Columbus, as the team is coming off a 4-2 home win over the Islanders on Friday. Something will have to give because the Ducks (28 points) and Blue Jackets (25 points) are by far the two worst teams in the NHL. As of Saturday evening, no other team has fewer than 34 points.
Arkansas State became the first team in the 11-year history of the Sun Belt Conference to win 10 regular-season games, and it heads into its first bowl game since 2005 on a nine-game winning streak. A word of caution, though, for the Red Wolves: they will be without head coach Hugh Freeze for the GoDaddy.com Bowl. He was hired on December 5 to become the new head coach at Ole Miss. Interim head coach David Gunn will lead Arkansas State on Sunday against Northern Illinois.
Historical trends favor Atlanta in Sunday's playoff clash between the Falcons and Giants. The road team has won eight of the last nine meetings between the two teams and is 8-0 ATS in the last eight. Atlanta is 5-0 ATS in its last five road games against the Giants. Recent trends, however, are not so favorable for Atlanta. The team is 1-4 ATS in its last five playoff appearances and Ryan has never won a playoff game (0-2 lifetime). In his two postseason games Ryan is a combined 46 for 69 with 385 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions. If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial